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Plays of the Day
Value: With both Dion Waiters and Josh Richardson inactive over Miami’s last 3 games, Rodney McGruder has been extremely consistent with 36 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists while logging at least 35 minutes in 3 starts. He’s a great defender and should be able to rack up a few steals in a matchup with a Sixers team that coughs up the second-most turnovers per game (16.7) this year, while Philly’s defense is far less imposing with Joel Embiid (knee) ruled out of yet another game.
Fade: Once again, it’s tough to call James Harden an easy fade, but he doesn’t seem as appealing as Russell Westbrook and is the most expensive player on the board on DK tonight. The Rockets (-14.5) could win easily, which would sap his value, while Westy is going to play as hard as he ever has in a home game against KD and the Warriors.
Games to Target
- Oklahoma City Thunder (+7.5) hosting Golden State Warriors (Over/Under = 228.5)
- Cleveland Cavs (-11.5) hosting Denver Nuggets (Over/Under = 230.5)
Russell Westbrook (OKC) vs. GSW DK:$12,600/FD:$12,500
Despite suffering a couple of rough losses in two road tests against the Warriors this season, Westbrook has held his own in the stat sheet with averages of 23.5 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 11.5 APG and 3.5 STL/BLK per game in those contests. Now he’ll face his most hated rivals at home, where he’s averaging 31.7 PPG while shooting 44% from the floor and posting a superior 2.24 AST:TO ratio on the year. The Dubs are an excellent defensive team, but Steph Curry is their weak spot on that end of the floor and Westbrook has abused the reigning MVP in the past. The added storylines with Kevin Durant making his first appearance in OKC since jumping ship should only serve to increase a player in Westbrook who has been playing with the fury of a thousand suns all season.
Jameer Nelson (DEN) @ CLE DK:$4,400/FD:$4,400
You might need to pair Westbrok with a value at PG in order to set a solid overall lineup and Nelson can provide that salary relief as long as Emmanuel Mudiay (back) remains inactive or limited. The veteran bounced back from a lackluster outing to produce 22 points, 20 assists and 63.25 DK points (57 FD points) over his last 2 appearances, as he logged 33 minutes while rookie Jamal Murray saw just 6 in last night’s win over the Knicks. Nelson draws another great matchup on the road against a Cavs team that gives up the most FPPG (49.98) to opposing PGs over the last month in a game that’s ripe for targeting with it’s lofty 230-point Over/Under.
Devin Harris ($4300 as SG on DK/$4100) is healthier and has played his way into a timeshare with Yogi Ferrell ($5400/$5700) for the Mavericks.
Isaiah Thomas ($9200/$9800) should definitely be on your radar at a decreasing price tag, as he’ll look to burn the Jazz for the second time this year.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL) @ IND DK:$10,500 as PG/SF/FD:$11,200
He certainly came through as an elite option and an absolute usage monster last night, as Giannis went for 41 points on 12-of-21 FG shooting and shot an absurd 21 FTs in a losing effort against the Lakers. He’s clearly going to see an expanded role with Jabari Parker (knee) done for the season and his usage is even more secure with Khris Middleton (rest) inactive for this road tilt. The Pacers are certainly a better defensive team than the lowly Lakers, but are still vulnerable on the wing as they give up the tenth-most PPG (20.1) to opposing SFs this season. The Greek Freak went for 27 points, 7 rebounds and 9 assists in his sole meeting with Paul George and Indy earlier this season and he’s now sporting a 29.8% Usage Rate while averaging 1.38 FPs per minute when Parker is off the floor this season.
Evan Fournier (ORL) @ DAL DK:$6,200/FD:$5,500
Fournier was beginning to round back into form after missing several games with a foot injury over the last couple of months, while an injury to Aaron Gordon (foot) seems to have accelerated that process. He went for 24 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists in a narrow loss to Philly and draws another plus matchup tonight in Dallas, as the Mavericks are ranked 26th in opponents FG shooting (.469%) and rank dead last in rebounding rate. Fournier is sporting a 25.3% Usage Rate and averaging 0.80 FPs per minute with Gordon off the floor this season and he’s really increased his efforts on the boards, which bodes well for his prospects in this matchup.
Jaylen Brown ($3400/$3800 as SF on FD) is a solid value to consider with Avery Bradley out and he could become much safer if Jae Crowder (personal). C.J. Watson ($3700/$4100) is suddenly Orlando’s starting PG and that makes him worth a punt in a plus matchup at Dallas.
Will Barton ($6300/$6200) should be very busy once again with the Nuggets missing Danilo Gallinari (groin) and potentially missing Kenneth Faried (ankle) and Mudiay as well.
LeBron James (CLE) vs. DEN: DK:$10,200/FD:$11,100
With so much attention on Kevin Durant in his return to OKC tonight, LeBron has the chance to emerge as a somewhat contrarian option at the top of the board. Yet the King draws a far more appealing matchup against a Nuggets team that ranks 30th in defensive rating and is coughing up 114.8 PPG since the calendar turned to 2017. Denver coughs up the second-most FPPG (47.71) and APG (9.31) to opposing PGs this season, while LBJ is playing like a point forward once again and leading the Cavs on a resurgence, as they’re scoring 118.6 PPG over their last 7 appearances. James should carry the team once again in a fantastic game to target.
Rodney McGruder (MIA) @ PHI: DK:$3,900/FD:$3,800
Another appealing value play to pair with a high-priced option at forward (whether it’s LBJ or KD), McGruder will be very safe to use if Dion Waiters (ankle) and Josh Richardson (ankle) are both unable to suit up for the Heat tonight. With both players out over Miami’s last 3 games, McGruder has been extremely consistent with 36 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists while logging at least 35 minutes in 3 starts. He’s a great defender and should be able to rack up a few steals in a matchup with a Sixers team that coughs up the second-most turnovers per game (16.7) this year, while Philly’s defense is far less imposing with Joel Embiid (knee) ruled out of yet another game.
Corey Brewer ($3000/$3500) could serve as a min-priced punt play if Eric Gordon (back) misses another game for Houston. Andre Iguodala ($3800/$4200) is a fine pivot and a safe value play in his own right.
Robert Covington ($5900/$6300) is a very solid mid-tier option with upside as one of the 76ers main offensive options when Embiid is out. Michael Beasley ($4200/$4400) saw a significant increase in usage with Parker out and he has even more upside with Middleton out as well.
Nikola Jokic (DEN) @ CLE: DK:$9,000 as C/FD:$9,900
While his matchup is far less appealing than it was last night, Jokic is very hard to fade in a potential shootout at Cleveland. The Knicks basically let him walk to the rim on his way to a career-high 40 points last night, but the Joker is talented enough to find teammates and produce a well-rounded stat line if the Cavs are able to keep him from scoring this evening. He’s averaging 20.4 PPG, 8.4 RPG and 6 APG despite logging just 28.4 MPG over his last 5 appearances due to some foul trouble and minutes restrictions, but he’s been cut loose over his last 2 starts with great results and he’s very much under priced on DK if he’s going to log over 36 minutes again this evening.
Dirk Nowitzki (DAL) vs. ORL: DK:$5,300/FD:$5,700
Dirty Dirk is also ramping up his playing time lately and he actually logged 37 minutes while leading the Mavs to an OT win over Utah on Thursday. The veteran should be able to log a full slate of minutes two days later in a much easier matchup at home, as the Magic rank 24th in opponents FG shooting (.463%) and 23rd in 3PT defense this season. Nowitzki is averaging 18.4 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists per 36 minutes this year, yet the issue is that he rarely logs that amount of playing time. But he seems healthy enough at this juncture in the season and he should be able to meet value with the potential to exceed it in a third consecutive game.
Dario Saric ($4800/$4600) is thriving for the Sixers right now and he should continue to benefit from Embiid’s absence.
Darrell Arthur ($3500/$4300) could be solid for the Nuggets once again if Kenneth Faried (ankle) remains out. Consider James Johnson ($6100/$6000) in a plus matchup against the Sixers undersized front line.
Hassan Whiteside (MIA) @ PHI: DK:$8,500/FD:$9,100
If you only pay up for one big man tonight, make it Mr. Whiteside. The Heat’s center is coming off a lackluster game in a relatively easy win over the Nets, but might find that more effort is required to extend Miami’s 12-game winning streak at Philadelphia tonight. The Sixers are playing very well over the last couple months but are still expected to be without Joel Embiid, leaving them extremely vulnerable in the paint. Whiteside absolutely dominated Jahlil Okafor and the rest of Philly’s backup bigs on his way to a 30-20 game when these teams last met and he’s now averaging 31 PPG, 16.5 RPG and 2.5 BPG despite playing just 29.5 MPG over 2 meetings with the 76ers this season. Philly is coughing up the most FPPG (62.64), most PPG (28.73) and most RPG (21.53) by far to opposing centers over the last month and Whiteside is certainly capable of adding to those lofty averages.
Alex Len (PHO) @ HOU: DK:$3,000/FD:$3,600 as PF
It’s not as if he comes with no risk, since he was suspended on Friday and could face disciplinary action or simply sit for long stretches as the Suns look to match up with the fast-paced Rockets, but Len emerges as a very appealing value with Tyson Chandler (ankle) doubtful to suit up tonight. The young center is averaging 0.38 points and 0.91 FPs per minute with Chandler off the floor this season and he draws a great matchup against a Rockets team that gives up the fourth-most FPPG (55.62) and third-most PPG (25.14) to opposing centers over the last month. As minimum-priced values, either Len or Alan Williams ($3000/$3500) should swing GPP contests this evening.
He was ice cold last night, but John Henson ($4100/$3900) could bounce back at Indiana with Parker and Khris Middleton out. While Greg Monroe ($4900/$5800) clearly has more upside as a mid-tier option.
If Aaron Gordon remains out, Nikola Vucevic ($7600/$7300) will be worth a long look against the worst rebounding team in the NBA in Dallas.